Accor said on Monday that it had named Gilda Perez-Alvarado as its group chief strategy officer in charge of overseeing global strategy, relations with hotel owners, and strategic partnerships.
Since 2004, Perez-Alvarado has been at the hotel brokerage firm JLL Hotels & Hospitality, working her way up to become its Global CEO. She’s intimately familiar with the sector’s biggest owners and investors, such as sovereign wealth funds, private equity, global brands, family offices, and ultra-high-net-worth individuals.
Perez-Alvarado has spoken about real estate and capital markets at multiple industry events, including at Skift’s Future of Lodging Forum. She will start her new role on October 1, becoming a member of Accor’s management board.
Accor, the Paris-based hotel giant, said on Tuesday that Omer Acar will head its brands Raffles & Orient Express as of March 1. Acar will join Accor’s other brand CEOs in its luxury and lifestyle group (Fairmont, Sofitel & MGallery, and Ennismore) — all of whom report directly to group CEO Sébastien Bazin.
Omer will be based in New York and will represent Accor in North America. He has most recently been managing director for Europe and the Americas for Katara Hospitality, where he supervised 18 hotels including the Plaza in New York, Peninsula in Paris, Carlton in Cannes, Excelsior in Rome, Grosvenor House, and Savoy in London.
“I admire so much about Stephanie — she has this great combination of grit, grace, and humanity — qualities that make her an exceptional leader,” said Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano. “To say she will be missed is an understatement.”
Linnartz led Marriott’s multibillion-dollar digital transformation. Under Armour said it was interested in leveraging her digital expertise as the company seeks to become more digitally nimble.
Some analysts will see the news of Linnartz’s departure as a message to the travel industry that if it doesn’t put women in top roles they will leave for industries that are more welcoming. Others will see it as natural that some executives may seek other jobs after long tenures and a grueling pandemic, as witnessed by IHG saying in October that it would lose its chief financial officer and long-time executive, Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson, to take a comparable role at Flutter Entertainment, a sports betting and gaming operator.
Linnartz has been president of Marriott since 2021, heading the company’s brand, marketing, sales, revenue management, customer engagement, digital, information technology, emerging businesses, and loyalty. She also oversaw the strategic growth of the company’s lodging brands.
“It has been one of the most significant and best experiences of my life to build a career at Marriott,” said Linnartz.
Below is a video of Linnartz talking about her work on adapting technology for the strategic needs of a hotel giant at Marriott during the Skift Tech Forum in San Francisco in 2019.
Sam Gilliland, who was the CEO of Sabre Corporation for 10 years, is taking the top role at Accelya.
The Spanish company, which makes software for the airline industry, said Monday that Gilliland has been hired as CEO. Gilliland replaces Jim Davidson, who is stepping into the role of vice chairman.
Accelya was acquired in 2019 by Vista Equity Partners, a software investment fund. Through that investment, Accelya bought Farelogix in 2020. Accelya has more than 250 airline clients and nearly 2,500 employees.
Most recently, Gilliland was the CEO of Cherwell Software, a Colorado company owned by Ivanti that makes information technology software for corporations.
Gilliland had spent 25 years at Sabre, starting as a software engineer. He was named chairman and CEO of Sabre in 2003 and exited in the role in 2013. Skift had named him one of the highest paid executives in travel while he was there. He had led more than 10,000 employees in 60 countries.
Reynal most recently was president and CEO of Apple Leisure Group, a resort company Hyatt acquired in the past year. But intriguingly he has expertise in applying data-based approaches to businesses, having previously held top positions at Atento, a global customer relationship management firm, and Telefonica, a telecom.
“Throughout his career, Alejandro has led and inspired global teams to embrace innovation, leverage the power of data and insights, and deliver top financial performance and value to both investors and customers,” said Michael Larson, chief investment officer of Cascade Investment, in a statement. Larson is the money manager who calls the shots in the fund, which holds the personal investment assets of billionaire Bill Gates.
In the past year, Cascade has increased its stake in Four Seasons, and now holds a 71 percent stake in the company. It has said it wants the lodging company to boost its uses of the latest technologies to enhance performance.
“I have a deep admiration for Four Seasons and the more than 50,000 people around the world who make this company so special,” said new CEO Reynal on LinkedIn. “I look forward to leading this exceptional organization into the future as we seize the opportunities ahead and continue to deliver best-in-class experiences for our guests, residents, partners and all who connect with our brand.”